Brilliant Cavani brace gives Uruguay 2-1 win over Portugal

Oscar Tabarez rates Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world

Oscar Tabarez rates Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world

Ronaldo's great start in Russian Federation allowed him to surpass the combined total of three goals he had scored in his previous three World Cups.

The second match of the knockout stage between Uruguay and Portugal began on a high note, with fans hoping to see Ronaldo work his magic on the field.

Messi's return in Russian Federation was more meagre - at times he looked disillusioned on the field as Argentine struggled to find anything like their usual style and he drifted deep into midfield in the forlorn hope of influencing games.

As per the itinerary I crafted for myself before landing in Russian Federation, I should remain in Sochi - where I saw Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick heroics vs Spain on Matchday 1 - until July 8.

An injury-time goal from Sergio Aguero proved to be a consolation. Cavani switches the play with a handsome diagonal pass, which Suarez takes down.

Santos said his side had studied their opponents, but it was impossible to legislate for Uruguay's first goal, which featured a superb interaction between Luis Suarez and his strike partner, Cavani.

"The truth is, it was really exciting", Cavani said. "It's exciting. there are no words to describe this".

Two-time world champion Uruguay hadn't reached the last eight at the World Cup since a fourth-place finish in 2010. Ronaldo may have provided more fireworks, but if World Cup success is the standard by which we measure greatness, the Ronaldo and Messi debate looks set to rage on, with both failing to progress beyond the Round of 16.

But Santos said he still hopes to see the 33-year-old add to his 154 caps and 85 global goals.

"No team can win with one player alone", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "The team didn't win because Uruguay scored twice".

While Suarez seemed to play down or avoid questions about Ronaldo, it's clear Uruguay must continue to have the tightest defence in the tournament to keep Ronaldo and others under control.

Pepe's goal was the first time the South Americans' defence had been breached in this tournament, but they stood firm after that and are beginning to look like genuine contenders moving into the latter stages in Russian Federation.

Being level lasted only seven minutes.

After huffing and puffing his way through the opening two group matches, Uruguay's talisman Edinson Cavani has finally arrived at the party, and in some style. Cavani employed a side-footed curling effort to send the ball into the right corner of the net. Cavani continued his run and Suarez curled the pass to the back post while Portugal defender Raphael Guerreiro was watching.

"Certainly, yes, Cristiano still has a lot to give to football". "Uruguay had never scored like that".

Ronaldo had company everywhere he went on the field and Portugal's supporting cast was unable to provide enough help.

The back four deserve just as much credit as the front two do, as Pepe's goal was the first time La Celeste's defence has been breached since the turn of the year. The Uruguayans had gone 598 minutes since November 2017 without allowing a goal.

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